Michigan Self-Defense Legislature Allows More Powerful Pepper Spray
Public Act 365 of 2010
Michigan – -(Ammoland.com)- Although this is not a firearms issue, per se, it is a question that we see often and is relevant to self-defense: Pepper spray. Michigan law was recently changed (December 22, 2010) to allow citizens to carry “full-strength” 10% formulation pepper (OC) spray.
MCL 750.224d states:
“(1) As used in this section and section 224, “self-defense spray or foam device” means a device to which all of the following apply:
(a) The device is capable of carrying, and ejects, releases, or emits 1 of the following:
(i) Not more than 35 grams of any combination of orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile and inert ingredients.
(ii) A solution containing not more than 10% oleoresin capsicum.
(b) The device does not eject, release, or emit any gas or substance that will temporarily or permanently disable, incapacitate, injure, or harm a person with whom the gas or substance comes in contact, other than the substance described in subdivision (a)(i) or (ii).
(2) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person who uses a self defense spray or foam device to eject, release, or emit orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile or oleoresin capsicum at another person is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.
(3) If a person uses a self-defense spray or foam device during the commission of a crime to eject, release, or emit orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile or oleoresin capsicum or threatens to use a self-defense spray or foam device during the commission of a crime to temporarily or permanently disable another person, the judge who imposes sentence upon a conviction for that crime shall consider the defendant's use or threatened use of the self-defense spray or foam device as a reason for enhancing the sentence.
(4) A person shall not sell a self-defense spray or foam device to a minor. A person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
(5) Subsection (2) DOES NOT PROHIBIT (emphasis added) either of the following:
(a) The reasonable use of a self-defense spray or foam device containing not more than 10% oleoresin capsicum by a person who is employed by a county sheriff or a chief of police and who is authorized in writing by the county sheriff or chief of police to carry and use a self-defense spray or foam device and has been trained in the use, effects, and risks of the device, while in performance of his or her official duties.
(b) The reasonable use of a self-defense spray or foam device containing not more than 10% oleoresin capsicum by a person in the protection of a person or property under circumstances that would justify the person's use of physical force.”
So, as with any force used in self-defense, pepper spray must only be used when it is proportional to the force used, or threatened by the attacker. As stated above, misuse of pepper spray can result in criminal penalties for the user.
Note: the two-year penalty mentioned in the statute means that the crime is what is referred to as a “high court misdemeanor,” and is treated for all practical purposes as a felony.
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